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Ethias Customer Story

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From legacy storage to a content platform fit for modern insurers

"We have demonstrated that migration doesn't have to be a risky and complex task. Now, we save a lot of money each year using the new Alfresco Digital Business Platform - it was definitely worth the effort.”

With 1,800 employees, 40 regional offices and more than one million customers, Ethias is Belgium’s third largest insurer. As a direct policy provider, Ethias has a rich history of helping private, corporate and public sector clients protect themselves against financial loss without the need to use a broker.

The question: How do we modernize content management?

As an organization that prides itself on delivering modern insurance solutions, Ethias has to rapidly adapt to changing market conditions in a way that satisfies customers. This means providing employees and clients with reliable processes and accurate data that allows them to communicate effectively and make well-informed decisions.

One of the key blockers to success was a legacy Documentum system. Having originally been provisioned for document storage and email archiving, it could not turn the vast amounts of data contained within its 57 million records into actionable information.

This created significant financial and business process issues:

  • Costly maintenance charges for an out-of-date system
  • Missed opportunities to create new revenue streams
  • Lack of insight to design and provision new client services and experiences
  • Difficulties in locating and accessing documents
  • Challenges in cross-branch collaboration

The answer: Take an insurer’s approach

With proven expertise in calculating client risk, the Ethias team applied their insurance mindset to creating a comprehensive list of the content challenges they faced. They then researched the Enterprise Content Management market (including EMC Documentum, IBM FileNet, OpenText and Oracle) before selecting Alfresco Premier System Integrator Partner, XeniT, to provide them with a cloud-hosted Alfresco Content Services (ACS) solution.

With Alfresco meeting the stringent criteria for vastly increased functionality and greatly reduced cost, the XeniT team got to work on transforming Ethias’ legacy systems into a flexible, scalable, content management platform.

The process: A meticulous methodology

Ethias took a forensic approach to creating their project plan. This included listing every possible content management capability, the apps Alfresco needed to connect with, plus data legislation and regulatory requirements.

Priority number one was to design and deliver new solutions and better experiences for their clients. With scheduled improvements including onboarding an Optical Character Recognition (OCR) process plus a new document production platform, the Ethias team valued the ability of Alfresco’s open, agile architecture to release value from their metadata and provide watertight security.

Alfresco also demonstrated it could make information flow better and employee collaboration easier by providing reliable connections with existing productivity and industry apps including Guidewire PolicyCenter, ClaimCenter and

“Alfresco has proved to be scalable and robust, allowing easy API integration to other systems - something that was crucial for project success.”      Benoît Vard, Project Manager, Ethias

It was also important to make sure the solution provided value for money. Alongside removing the ongoing cost of Documentum, it was vital that Ethias could prove their new content management solution would deliver clear ROI.

The outcome: Fast, flexible and future-ready

Under XeniT’s guidance, the migration was an incredible success. Ethias transferred its 57 million documents to Alfresco in less than three months. And it’s not just the speed that was impressive – by setting new metadata parameters, the historic data became richer and more valuable. This delivered further improvements in the form of security – thanks to Alfresco, Ethias benefits from more effective encryption, identity management and access control.

With Alfresco acting as the common content service layer, productivity has skyrocketed –Ethias can implement and integrate new digital processes faster than ever before. And, by using a business API, interactions between Alfresco and third-party applications benefit too.

Alfresco Content Services has given Ethias confidence that it has the capacity and flexibility to scale at will. Today, 70 million documents are now managed in Alfresco, with 10 to 20 million documents being added annually. With a container-based architecture, Ethias can handle 100,000 user interactions with ease and is more than ready for when they reach 100 million documents threshold.

They’re also fit for heightened regulation too – with the ability to support more complex queries, it’s easy to respond to the demands of GDPR.

And what about the cost? It didn’t take Alfresco Content Services long to prove its worth. Payback was achieved in less than 12 months and overall TCO was reduced by 50% compared to the legacy system. With operating expenses stabilized as a result of the migration, it’s a benefit that’s being felt every day too – leaving Ethias free to focus on providing modern insurance solutions, not monitoring cost.

"Alfresco has proved to be scalable and robust, while  API allowing easy integration to other systems that was crucial for project success.  Users have the content in the systems they use to get their job done, with Alfresco managing the content and enabling advanced search and viewing capabilities. This has made our processes more efficient." - Benoît Vard, Project Manager, Ethias